Hello Edward Baldwin, Thank you for your thoughts.
The AIA is 157 years old. It began in 1857. Do you still want to give them time to respond to the needs of licensed residential architects?
How much time do we have left in our lives? 20, 30, 40 years? The AIA has been alive longer than any of us will live and certainly longer than each of us has left. To think that we, as individuals are going to change the course of this huge, lumbering organization is optimistic, at best.
Why would they want to change? The AIA receives nearly $50 million a year (Local + State + National) dues from all of us AIA members EACH YEAR. The AIA IS ALREADY SUCCESSFUL
! They make 50 million bucks a year from all of us
. Why would they want to change anything? You are assuming that the the AIA hierarchy, has as its agenda, concepts and mission statements that are consistent with your own and with residential architects throughout the USA. Well...that may or may not be the case.
Do you really know? Sure, I'd like to think that we are all on the same page, but I haven't seen evidence of that. Have you? Has anyone? Other than some award programs that glorify housing that most Americans don't want and who in the public is even aware of these awards programs? And the Architect magazine, while we may enjoy it, isn't seen by the public. And if it was, is there ANYTHING in its pages that would lead most American consumers to the conclusion that they should hire a real, licensed home architect? I haven't seen it. Have you?
This is the result of the AIA's effort for the last 157 years. Are you satisfied? How much time do you want to give them? a month? A year? 5 years? The rest of your life? What is your pain threshold? Wouldn't you like to see your hard-earned dues going to some better purpose? Something that directly helps your type of practice?
A good chunk of my earlier years were spent designing, specifying, detailing, managing and administering commercial projects: schools, NASA projects, military, scientific, lowrise, highrise, midrise, offices, industrial, theme park and other project types. Yes, I absolutely am a better residential architect because of my experience with those complex commercial project types.
I do not advocate having less experience, but rather more experience. That is not the point of the ARA. The ARA is meant to simply be a professional club (just as the AIA is): an association of like-minded architects who have unlimited licenses to design anything, but who choose to design mainly homes. And when do you think the AIA is going to begin a scientific analysis of home design? It has had 157 years. Your point is well made, however. The ARA should have such an agenda, to increase the knowledge base of residential architecture. And you are correct: if we don't do it, the NAHB and others will. They will become the experts, because we will have abdicated our roles in that regard due to our lack of attention on the matters about which the public is really interested. LET'S NOT CONTINUE THAT MISTAKE. Time for a change. Time for the ARA: focused on residential architecture.
The ARA does not want to become a bureaucracy. It wants to be a positive power to promote residential architects and improve the practice and techniques of home design. Some administration will of course become necessary. However, the idea is to have an agenda focused on residential architects and their work.
Rand Soellner AIA
Rand Soellner Architect
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